Tag Archives: God

Biblical Guidelines for ‘Hate Talk’

Does it bother you when people accuse you of ‘hate talk’?

In the news we hear a lot about ‘hate talk’. This usually happens to Christians when they talk about what God has told us to talk about. It usually comes from a person who refuses to believe what the Bible teaches.

What is ‘hate talk’? We usually consider hate talk as any talk that opposes the ideals of the person to whom we are talking. God was the first one to talk about ‘hate talk’. This is what the writer of Proverbs says in the Proverbs 6:16-19:

There are six things the Lord hates,seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community. Proverbs 6:16-19(NIV)

Did you get that? God hates six actions:

  1. haughty eyes,
  2. a lying tongue,
  3. hands that shed innocent blood,
  4. a heart that devises wicked schemes,
  5. feet that are quick to rush into evil,
  6. a false witness who pours out lies

In addition, God also detests the person who stirs up conflict in the community.

Two important aspects of God’s ‘hate talk’:

  1. The six things that God hates are ‘actions’, not people.
  2. People can be detestable to God, but God still loves them.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16(NIV)

We are to love people just as Jesus loved them.

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. 1 John 7-12(NIV)

Being accused of ‘hate talk’ should be an encouragement to Christians if we are following God example. However, if we are talking about outsiders (non-believers), we need to repent because we are not showing them God’s love.

Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. Colossians 4:5-6(NIV)

 

NOTE: Scripture used in this blog was downloaded from Biblegateway.com

Is your church “pre-screening” people for heaven?

How many times have you heard in church that people who do … or if people do not do … will not go the heaven? This is not a new Phenomenon for the church. It has been happening since the beginning of the church.

In the 10th chapter of Acts, we read about how Peter (a devote Jew) has a vision about God sending a sheet filled with animals that were considered unclean food and tells Peter to kill and eat. But Peter responds that he has never let any unclean thing enter his body. God had to tell him two more times before God took the sheet of food away.

About the same time, Cornelius (a believing Gentile) has as vision about going to find Peter.

As Peter was thinking about the meaning of his vision, Cornelius comes to the house and asks for Peter. So Peter goes to the house of Cornelius.

Now we are all here in the presence of God to listen to everything the Lord has commanded you to tell us.”

Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right. You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.  You know what has happened throughout the province of Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached—  how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.

“We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a cross, but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen—by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on Gentiles. For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God.

Then Peter said, “Surely no one can stand in the way of their being baptized with water. They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.” So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked Peter to stay with them for a few days. Acts 10:33-48(NIV)

Did this end the debate between the Christian Gentiles and the Jews? No. Later, the Jews were telling the Christian Gentiles that they needed to be circumcised to become a believer because this is what was required in the covenant God made with the children of Israel.

The church today has problems trying to pre-screen Christians. It may not be circumcision or eating certain foods, but we have several others: Type of worship, translation of the Bible, baptism, place of worship, instruments used in worship, pastor’s salary, church membership, etc.

We need to give the same message that Peter gave in Acts 10. Peter told them that God was not show favoritism. He also told them what God had done for him. He told them about the Holy Spirit that was given to the believers and that Jesus died on the cross for everyone. God loves everyone. Christ died to redeem people from their sins, not to condemn them.

Rather than separating ourselves from the nonbeliever, we need to witnesses to them about what God had done in our lives. We are to be filled with the Holy Spirit so we will speak only what the Holy Spirit tells us to speak.

God did not plan for the church to ‘pre-screen’ people for heaven. God wants us to tell unbelievers about the love of God and what He did for them on the cross. The assignment to the church is to make disciples, not judges and critics.

NOTE: All scripture used in this blog was downloaded from www.biblegateway.com

What do you enjoy about Christmas?

For children, Christmas is frequently a time when they enjoy receiving gifts. The gifts are frequently toys or games that they have been wanting. The gifts come from parents, grandparents, teachers, leaders of the various activities in which they are involved.

As we get older, we enjoy the gifts from a special someone. They could be our best friends, the person we are dating at the time, or some other person that has a special meaning to our life.

As adults, we enjoy the gifts from our children or family members. We especially enjoy the company of our families and friends. We enjoy eating together, watching sport events of Christmas programs where our children, grandchildren, or great-grandchildren are participating.

As we grow older, the things that we enjoy about Christmas seem to move from material things to relationships that we develop over the years.

God wants us to enjoy a relationship with Him.

In the Old Testament when man sinned, there was a price to pay for those sins. The price was the shedding of blood of an innocent animal. People were required to go to the high priest to make these sacrifices.

The animals that were sacrificed were animals that did not have any blemishes. In other words, they needed to be “perfect” animals or in some cases doves. In most cases, they were sheep or lambs. The sacrifices were made to please God. People were required to obey the commandments and laws that God gave them. There salvation was based on what they did or did not do.

Making a sacrifice was something they were supposed to do when they had sinned against God or the fellow man. However, one day that changed. God loved us so much that he wanted us to be his children. He wanted to have a relationship with his children. He wanted the love of his children. He was going to send a sacrifice that would be for everybody. He was not going to force this relationship on people but rather have them love him willfully.

God had a plan. He was going to send his son Jesus down to earth to show His love for us. Jesus would be born as a baby and experience life on earth. He was going to show people how to love. Jesus taught us about his father and what the Father’s will was for his children. Jesus taught us who God is.

Jesus lived a perfect life while on earth. He did not live to have a high self-esteem; he did not live to please other people; he did not live to condemn the world. Jesus lived to do the will of his Father. Everything Jesus did was the will of his Father and not his own will.

After a short life on this earth, Jesus laid down his life for our sins. He became the perfect sacrifice. However, unlike the sacrifices made in the Old Testament, Jesus was raised to life again. JESUS WAS VICTORIOUS OVER DEATH!

Because Jesus was victorious over death, we who believe in him will be victorious over death also. We will be able to live eternally with our Father in Heaven! In eternity, we will no longer experience sickness, disappointment, separation, etc. We will have an eternal relationship with God the Father. We will be coheirs with Jesus. Everything that the Father has will be at our disposal. What a wonderful gift God gave us that first Christmas morning!

There is only one way to receive the gift of eternal life with God the Father. In John 14:6, Jesus said that He was the “way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

You cannot receive the gift of eternal life just by knowing who God is, by belonging to a certain church or religious cult, by living a good life; you can only receive eternal life through Jesus Christ.

God does not want us to be selfish and keep this gift for ourselves; rather He wants us to share this unending gift with everyone we meet. God wants our lives to be a demonstration of who He is and not who we are.

This Christmas remember and enjoy the real reason Jesus came that Christmas night. Because Jesus came on Christmas and became the perfect sacrifice for our sin, we can live in peace even when the world seems to be falling apart and people fear what the future holds.

Jesus gave his followers these promises:

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” John 14:1-4(NIV)

Later in that same chapter, Jesus said:

26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:26-27(NIV)

Over 65 Years ago, I accepted the gift of salvation made possible because Jesus was born, lived, and paid the price for my sin. Over those years, I have experienced disappointments, losses, persecution, loneliness, financial loss, times of physical difficulty, yes, and even times of war. However, through these times, I have felt the peace of God that he gives to those who believe in Him.

This Christmas season accepts God’s gift of salvation. Experience the peace that only God can give.

Merry Christmas

NOTE: all scripture in this blog were downloaded from www.Biblegateway.com December 13, 2015

Where is love?

Years ago, before common core math was implemented, I had an algebra class in high school. In that class, we were taught that If (A + B = C), and if D = B, then A +D will also = C.

1 John 4:8 and 16 tell us “God is love.”

In the early 60s, we took God out of school. Students were no longer able to use the literature that our forefathers used as their primary text book. Children were forbidden to hear the historical writings of our ancestors.

Since the early 60s, God was taken out of schools, God was taken out of the public arena, God was taken out of government, and God was taken out of the military. In addition, in our attempt to be politically correct, God was also taken out of our speech. Most recently, we have attempted to keep God out of marriage.

In algebra, if A + B = C, then it is also true that A = C – B. Now if A = me, C = my life, B = God, and D = love. ‘me’ = ‘life’ without ‘God’. Since B = D, it is also true that ‘me’ = ‘life’ without ‘Love’.

Now people wonder why kids are bullied, why kids disobey parents, school officials, and other authorities. If my algebra teaching was correct, what we have done is take ‘love’ out of school, take ‘love’ out of public, take ‘love’ out of government, take ‘love’ out of our speech and take ‘love’ out of marriage.

Anytime we begin life by considering only “me”, we will end with a life without God and without love.

As a country, we do not need more gun control, more bullying policies, more social workers, more psychiatrists, more counselors, more juvenile correctional facilities, more jails, more police officers, or more government. What we need is more love. For us to get more love, we need to put God back into our lives.

Ironically, when the Bible – God’s word – was taken out of school, society wanted more love. This was the hippy age and we had songs like “Love, Sweet Love”, “I’m Still in Love With You”, “Never My Love”, and “I’ve Been Loving You too Long (To Stop Now)” etc. . Society was looking for the meaning of love. Love was being defined as not having anything regulating your behavior rather than accepting God into our lives.

God defined love when He crucified His only son to pay the price for your and my sins. Love is what God did when he adopted you and me as his own. Love was restoring the relationship that was lost when Adam and Eve sinned. Love is preparing an eternal home in heaven with God. God demonstrates love as ‘giving’ and not ‘getting’.

Love is available to everyone. There is enough love to go around. Love will never end. Here is what the Bible says about love:

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13(NIV)

It is time to put love back into our lives.

 

NOTE: Scripture used in this blog was downloaded 8.26/15 from: Biblegateway.com

Finding Yourself or Finding God?

We live it a society that has many artificial foods. Each product is intended to be just like the genuine product. In fact, they even use a name that indicates that you cannot tell the difference between the two products. When many of these products are tested years later, the results of the test show that the product may in fact be harmful.

Christianity is no different that these foods. There are people who will try to convince you that you can become god. Many of you have heard the phrase “I can do all things.” People will tell you that it is in the Bible so it must be true.

Philippians 4:13 (NKJV) Paul says: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. When you read the entire text you will find that Paul is giving God the credit for all that God has allowed him to do. However, the message that people like to hear is: “I can do all things by my own strength.” This makes them feel important. They believe they can do anything they want to do.

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world. 1 John 4:1-3(NIV)

Being focused on self and wanting to be god is not a new concept. It has been around since Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit. Today people are still listening to Satan’s argument. However, if we want to know real thing, we will find that the opposite is true; we cannot do anything without God’s strength. The Bibles says if we want to know the real joy of following Jesus, we must deny ourselves, in other words, we must become nothing and let Christ become everything.

Luke says it this way in Luke 9:23-26:

Then he said to them all: Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. 25 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? Luke 9:23-25(NIV)

What are the results of following your fleshly desires and doing whatever you please?

The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. Galatians 5:19-21(NIV)

What happens when you sacrifice your fleshly desires, and follow God’s leading?

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. Galatians 5:25-26(NIV)

Throughout the Old Testament, God shows the results of His power and the results of man’s power. Repeatedly God overpowers fleshly man. For instance, in the story of David and Goliath, Goliath is thinking that he could do whatever he pleased. He thinks he is infallible. His daily routine was to come before Saul’s army and dare them to kill him. However, when David saw Goliath and heard what Goliath was saying, David was determined to slay the giant.

God had been with David when a lion attack his sheep and again when a bear attack his sheep. David had experience God’s power in his own life. He knew God would give him the strength to slay Goliath.

David got permission from the King to stand against Goliath. This is what David said to Goliath after Goliath ridiculed him for being only a little boy.

“You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.” 1 Samuel 17:45-47(NIV)

David did kill Goliath. He did not kill the giant because he was god and could do it in his own strength. He did it because of the strength of the God of Israel.

Throughout the Gospels, the writers tell of God’s power through the life of His son Jesus. After the death of Jesus, God showed his awesome power by raising Jesus from the dead, thus overcoming death. It is because God gave Jesus victory over death that we will be able to live forever in Heaven. There has never been another person who has been able to overcome dead.

God has shown His love to us by sending His only begotten Son into the world that we may have eternal life. If we cannot believe the power and love that God has already shown to us, we will never have the eternal satisfaction of being reconciled to God for eternity. Adam and Eve were satisfied for a very short time as they tasted the forbidden fruit, but guilt soon took over and they hid from God.

Trust God with all your actions. Rely on His strength and not your own strength. God gives you hope for tomorrow but following selfish desires only brings hopelessness.

 

NOTE: All scripture used in this blog have been downloaded from www.biblegateway.com

Why are you carrying your burden of sin?

Over my lifetime, I have had many opportunities to counsel believers regarding struggles they were having with various sins that had burdened them. Often they will tell me they have prayed about the struggle and have asked God to help them overcome the sin several times, but the struggle does not go away.

We need to understand something about God. In our present world, people tend to be selfish. If they want something, they get it by whatever means necessary. However, God is a ‘giving’ God and not a ‘taking’ God even though He has the power to have whatever He wants.

In fact, God even gave is only son so you and I could have eternal life. Because He loves us, He will give us what we need. God does not give us everything we want. He does not spoil his children. He matures his children through showing genuine love.

God will not take our burdens away from without our permission. If we want God to take our burden away, we need to give it to him permission. He wants our permission to take the burden away from us. If we want to get rid of our burden, we need to give it to Him.

Frequently when God does not seem answer our prayers about sin, there are other sins associated with the burden. The sin could be the sin of pride or self-worth that prevents us from fully giving the burden to God. On the other hand, maybe we just enjoy entertaining the sin occasionally. Or maybe, it is an unhealthy habit that God is having us deal with.

If God is not answering your prayer regarding your struggle, we must examine our lives to determine if there is sin in our heart that prevents God from hearing our prayer.

Isaiah 59:1-2(NIV) says:

Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.

If God has hidden his face because of your sin, the first step to having your prayers heard is to be sure the lines of communication are open between you and God. In other words, you need to take care of the sins that are causing the bondage before we can be freed from the bondage itself.

If the communication lines between you and God are open, then you can give your burden to God knowing that He will hear your prayer. However, He is not going to take your burden away unless you give Him permission.

When you pray about your burden, give God permission to remove the burden. Every time you are tempted to sin, give it to God, and then thank Him for what he has done. Do not dwell on the sin, but rather on God’s answer to your prayer. It may be helpful to read passages of scripture that affirm God’s love for you and his promise to hear our prayers. On the other hand, read passages about Bible characters who have had similar burdens.

Do not be selfish; let God have your burden. Do not let it destroy your joy by being burdened with sin. Exchange your burden of sin with God’s burden: it is much lighter!

 Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-29(NIV)

NOTE: All scripture used in this blog was downloaded from: www.biblegateway.com

A Prescription for ‘Dying Church Syndrome’

Many of the mainline denominations are faced with churches that have only a few elderly people whose children left the church. Now they are experiencing the “dying church syndrome.”

Years ago churches were started when a few families in the neighborhood got together to share a mutual interest in spiritual matters or social gatherings. Churches were frequently used a schools during the week. Families were quite large because the family was needed to help raise the crops and livestock necessary to support the family. As the children matured, the young people chose their spouse from a family within the community. They got married and had children.  Churches grew because children were born to the congregation. However, many of the children followed Christ because that is what the family taught. It is what they were expected to do.

Over the years, families became smaller and more mobile. The young people sought jobs outside of the family business, and discovered spouses in other communities. They moved away from the community and frequently away from church. As the families grew and moved away, the churches began to decrease in size.

People began to lose interest in spiritual things. The Bible which was once the main text book in school was removed from the schools. Prayers were no longer welcome in school and at school events. The family structure began to break down. Churches were not receptive to having divorced people in their congregations, so families began leaving the church.

God intended the church to grow externally.

When Jesus gave the Great commission to his disciples in Matthew 28, He said: “Go and make disciples”. He did not say we should entice them to come so we can make them disciples.

Earlier in Jesus ministry, he illustrated to his disciples how they should make disciples. Matthew 9 is one of those illustration of how Jesus attracted church members (workers). Matthew 9:35-38(NIV) says:

Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 3Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”  Matthew 9:35-38(NIV)

While Jesus was going through towns and villages, he saw people that had no hope. They were behaving like sheep that had no shepherd. When he saw the crowds of people, Jesus had compassion on them. Jesus saw people who were sinning and he loved them in spite of their sin. He loved them because they were in need of what Jesus had to offer. Today, people outside of the church are needing what Christians have to offer.

The first steps in prevention of the ‘dying church syndrome’ is go to sinners, and love them regardless of their behavior and location.

The second step in prevention of the ‘dying church syndrome’ is to pray.

Pray for people to send

In Matthew 9:38, Jesus told his disciples to ‘ask the Lord of the harvest to send workers’.  Who are the workers in a church? Where do workers come from?

In this passage, workers are followers of Jesus. They are people who have denied themselves so that God would be glorified. In fact, Jesus frequently called them “fishers of men

People cannot make workers. Programs will not make workers. While the church can provide training and encouragement to the workers, only God can make workers. God is in charge of the harvest. He is the one who provides workers. God is calling us to become workers.

Conclusion

Churches and locker rooms have one thing in common. They are places where people are dressed and prepared to face the opponent. How many games have been won by the team staying in the locker room? None, the only way you can defeat the opponent is to confront them on the playing field. In the same way, Christians need to get out of church and face the opponent on the playing field.

Is God calling you to be a worker or is he calling you to be unconcerned about the harvest? Is God expecting you to leave the locker room and confront our opponent, or is He expecting you to get comfortable in His locker room, the church?

NOTE: Scripture used in this blog were downloaded from: Biblegateway.com.

Whose Battle are You Fighting?

In 2 Chronicles 20:1-30, we have the details of a battle that was fought against the enemies of God’s children. This is how the chapter starts:

After this, the Moabites and Ammonites with some of the Meunites  came to wage war against Jehoshaphat.

 Some people came and told Jehoshaphat, “A vast army is coming against you from Edom, from the other side of the Dead Sea. It is already in Hazezon Tamar” (that is, En Gedi).  Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah. The people of Judah came together to seek help from the Lord; indeed, they came from every town in Judah to seek him.    2 Chronicles 20:1-4(NIV)

ALARMED

Being alarmed does not mean that you are scared to death. Being alarmed means that God is waking you up for a purpose. Being alarmed is what a person is in the morning when their alarm clock goes off. It is waking you up to do the things you need to do that day.

The Holy Spirit still alarms people. He wakes them in the middle of the night with a burden for someone in need. Or He may alert us to dangers that we are facing. He causes people and ideas to ‘pop’ into our mind so we can minister to them.

When we are ‘alarmed’, the first thing we need to do is pray. We need to ask God what his plan is for that situation that he has called to our attention. This is what Jehoshaphat did, He prayed.

Here is what Jehoshaphat prayed:

“Lord, the God of our ancestors, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you. Our God, did you not drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend? They have lived in it and have built in it a sanctuary for your Name, saying, ‘If calamity comes upon us, whether the sword of judgment, or plague or famine, we will stand in your presence before this temple that bears your Name and will cry out to you in our distress, and you will hear us and save us.’

10 “But now here are men from Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir, whose territory you would not allow Israel to invade when they came from Egypt; so they turned away from them and did not destroy them. 11 See how they are repaying us by coming to drive us out of the possession you gave us as an inheritance. 12 Our God, will you not judge them? For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”  2 Chronicles 20:6-12 (NIV)

Sixteen times, Jehoshaphat referenced God saying ‘you’ or ‘your’.  When we are alarmed, we need to remember who God is. Jehoshaphat we remembering all the things that God had done for his people in the past. He was remembering God for who he is and what he has done.

When we pray, do with think about what God has done or do we just keep worrying and complaining about our situation? Are we afraid of what will happen or do we really believe God will take care of us?

After Jehoshaphat, remembered who God was, he began to ask God about his situation.  He reminded God that God he had told his people not to destroy the very people who have now come to try to destroy them.

The situation is such that they cannot survive without God’s intervention. They are in a hopeless situation according to man’s thinking. From his hopeless situation he says “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” (v. 20)

Jehoshaphat is giving his hopeless situation to God. He is looking for God to protect his children as he had done in the past. Jehoshaphat did not have the power to win this war, but God did. He was trusting God for deliverance.

After Jehoshaphat finished praying, God spoke to him and encouraged him.

He (The Spirit of the Lord) said: “Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.  Tomorrow march down against them. They will be climbing up by the Pass of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the gorge in the Desert of Jeruel.  You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.’” 2 Chronicles 20:15-17(NIV)

God reminded Jehoshaphat that the battle they were facing was not their battle. It was God’s battle. He didn’t ask them to come up with a program or plan on how they would do it. But what God told them was:  Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.

We need to recognize that we do not have the power to fight our situation, but God does! When we surrender our lives to God, our battles become His battles, not ours! What God wants us to do is to trust Him completely in our situation. He wants us to set back and watch what He is going to do.

Jehoshaphat had the assurance that God was going to fight the battle for them, He told the people to have faith in God and God would see them through.  Then he appointed men to ‘sing to the Lord’.

The songs they were to sing were meant to praise God ‘for the splendor of his holiness.’ They had a praise service! They, in faith,  believed God and gave him thanks for a battle that He was going to be won.

The results was that the people watched God win the battle!

After the battle was won, they returned home joyfully because God had given them victory. And because they gave God the credit, they had peace. The people around them developed a fear for the Lord because of the battle He won.

Today

We have a society today that is without hope. We are facing addictions, poverty, loneliness, persecution, failure, etc. We do not know what to do. We ask God for help but continue trying to win the battles by ourselves.

Do we really believe that God can win the battle for us? Or, Are we so important that God needs us worrying about the future?

When we surrender our hopelessness to God, He will provide hope and peace. When we fully believe that our hopelessness is God’s we can begin to sing praise and trust God for the victory.

As humans, we want to take the credit for God’s success.  We think it is because of our ‘program’, God was successful but he couldn’t do it without us. We brag about all the programs our church has.  We call all of the attention to ourselves or our church. We fail to recognize who God is.

Today, Christians are worried about what is going to happen to God’s children in Israel. The truth of the matter is that the battle is God’s and He is going to win.

Today, God has promised Christians that the battles we face are not ours! God wants us to have faith in Him and to trust those battles to Him. God wants us to praise him and watch him win the battle.

Our salvation is not based on what we do or don’t do, it is based on the fact that God has already won the battle. Jesus Christ became victorious over death! We don’t have to fight that battle again. It has been won! Let us praise God for the victory!

 

Note: All scriptures used in this article have been downloaded from http://www.biblegateway.com/?version=NIVunless otherwise noted.